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The State of European Cetaceans 2019 has launched!

The State of European Cetaceans 2019 has launched!

Data collected by our network of volunteers from across the UK has been analysed and today our 2019 The State of European Cetaceans report has launched!

This report is the latest landmark in ORCA’s ongoing mission to use citizen science to better understand the status of cetaceans within UK and European waters.

The State of European Cetaceans is ORCA's report series, documenting the results of our survey findings, and more importantly, drawing conclusions about what the results mean for whales, dolphins and porpoise in the wild. With significant and emerging threats continuing to adversely impact these animals and their habitats, our findings are crucial in providing evidence to conserve these animals in the future. 

This report builds upon the first three editions and includes new analyses, sections and contributors. We’re showcasing the work that our Wildlife Officers have done over the last five years in the Bay of Biscay, Celtic Sea, English Channel, North Sea and the Hebrides. Collecting data for almost every day, for up to nine months of the year, there is a treasure trove of data that hasn’t been looked at in any detail before. We’ve summarised the data that have been collected over this time, and have started to use this for novel analyses that investigates areas of importance for our European cetaceans.

In this year’s report we also use data that has been collected by Wildlife Officers to investigate how shipping density and environmental variables influence fin whale occurrence in the Bay of Biscay and helps us to analyse the animals’ seasonality and interannual variation.

ORCA Director Sally Hamilton said: “This report is the product of the dedication and hard work of our amazing volunteers, and we owe it to them to do everything we can to make sure it can be used to better protect our oceans. We need government, industry and researchers to work together to address the terrifying deterioration in the health of our oceans and ensure that we can safeguard it for future generations.”

Our volunteer citizen scientists recorded data on over 12,000 cetaceans in 2018 alone, with 29 species observed during 113 surveys conducted from ferries and cruise ships. Species sighted included Northern right whale dolphins which were a first with ORCA, along with six other new species. The State of European Cetaceans 2019 report wouldn't have been possible without the dedication of our members, supporters and volunteers. ORCA volunteers have freely given their time and effort to generate the citizen science which is the foundation of this report so we thank them all for their hard work.

ORCA are dependent on voluntary contributions from the public and much of our support comes through single donations that are an essential part of funding our work. By giving a donation you can help us to continue our surveys in the UK, Europe and beyond, and help to protect whales, dolphins and porpoises.

Find out more and read the full The State of European Cetaceans report here.